CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Performance Friday, November 22, 2013 | 7 PM

St. Louis Symphony

Britten's Peter Grimes
(opera in concert)

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Audiences will almost sense the salty air and the power of a savage sea when charismatic conductor David Robertson leads the St. Louis Symphony in a concert performance of Britten’s Peter Grimes, regarded as one of the most popular operatic masterpieces of the 20th century. This visceral work, performed on the centenary of the composer’s birth, depicts an overwhelming sense of fate in a misfit fisherman whose thwarted hopes lead inevitably to tragedy.

Performers

  • St. Louis Symphony
    David Robertson, Music Director and Conductor
  • Anthony Dean Griffey, Tenor (Peter Grimes)
  • Susanna Phillips, Soprano (Ellen Orford)
  • Alan Held, Bass-Baritone (Captain Balstrode)
  • Meredith Arwady, Contralto (Auntie)
  • Patrick Carfizzi, Bass-Baritone (Swallow)
  • Nancy Maultsby, Mezzo-Soprano (Mrs. Sedley)
  • David Pittsinger, Bass-Baritone (Hobson)
  • Thomas Cooley, Tenor (Robert Boles)
  • Liam Bonner, Baritone (Ned Keene)
  • Keith Boyer, Tenor (Horace Adams)
  • Leela Subramaniam, Soprano (Niece 1)
  • Summer Hassan, Soprano (Niece 2)
  • St. Louis Symphony Chorus
    Amy Kaiser, Director

Program

  • BRITTEN Peter Grimes (concert performance)

Bios

  • St. Louis Symphony


    Founded in 1880, the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest orchestra in the United States and widely considered one of the world's finest. In September 2005, internationally acclaimed conductor David Robertson became the 12th music director and second American-born conductor in the orchestra's history. In its 134th season, the St. Louis Symphony continues to strive for artistic excellence, fiscal responsibility, and community connection. In addition to its regular concert performances at Powell Hall, the symphony is an integral part of the St. Louis community, presenting free education and community programs throughout the region each year.

    Recordings by the symphony have been honored with six Grammy Awards and 56 Grammy nominations over the years. In 2009, the symphony's Nonesuch recording of John Adams's Doctor Atomic Symphony and Guide to Strange Places reached No. 2 on the Billboard rankings for classical music, and was named Best CD of the Decade by The Times of London. In 2013, Nonesuch recorded Adams's City Noir and Saxophone Concerto at Powell Hall, with an anticipated release in 2014.

    In 2012, the St. Louis Symphony's first European tour with Music Director David Robertson included performances at the BBC Proms, the Lucerne Festival, Paris's Salle Playel, and Musikfest Berlin, with the orchestra playing works by Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, Schoenberg, Gershwin, Ives, and Carter. Christian Tetzlaff joined the symphony as featured soloist. In 2013, the symphony completed its second successful California tour with Mr. Robertson, which included a three-day residency at the University of California-Davis.


    David Robertson


    A consummate musician, masterful programmer, and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today's most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2013, Mr. Robertson launched his ninth season as music director of the 134-year-old St. Louis Symphony. While continuing as music director with St. Louis, Mr. Robertson assumes the post of chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia in January 2014.

    In 2012-2013, Mr. Robertson led the St. Louis Symphony on two major tours: his first European tour with the orchestra-its first European engagements since 1998-in fall 2012, including critically acclaimed appearances at London's BBC Proms, at the Berlin and Lucerne festivals, and at Paris's Salle Pleyel; and a spring 2013 California tour that included a three-day residency at the University of California-Davis and performances at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and venues in Costa Mesa, Palm Desert, and Santa Barbara. Highlights of his 2013-2014 season with St. Louis include the recording earlier in the fall of a St. Louis Symphony co-commission, John Adams's Saxophone Concerto. Nonesuch Records will release the disc of the concerto, along with the orchestra's performance of Adams's City Noir, in 2014.

    Mr. Robertson is a frequent guest conductor with major orchestras and opera houses around the world. In the 2013-2014 season, in addition to launching his first year at the helm of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he conducts the US premiere of Nico Muhly's Two Boys in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera.

    Born in Santa Monica, California, David Robertson was educated at London's Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting.

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  • Anthony Dean Griffey


    American tenor Anthony Dean Griffey has captured critical and popular acclaim on opera, concert, and recital stages around the world. The combination of his beautiful and powerful lyric tenor voice, gift of dramatic interpretation, and superb musicianship have earned him the highest praise from critics and audiences alike.

    This season, Mr. Griffey's engagements include returns to Houston Grand Opera for Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Los Angeles Opera as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Britten's War Requiem (in Atlanta and at Carnegie Hall). He also makes debuts at Opera Carolina as Erik in Der fliegende Holländer and the Orquestra Simfònica del Gran Teatre del Liceu in performances of Mahler's Symphony No. 8, and sings Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Oregon and Louisiana symphony orchestras.

    Mr. Griffey has appeared in the world's most prestigious opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opéra de Paris, Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, and the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan. His many roles include the title roles in Peter Grimes, Idomeneo, Oedipus Rex, and Kurka's The Good Soldier Schweik; Florestan in Fidelio; Erik in Der fliegende Holländer; Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia; and Jim Mahoney in Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny.

    Mr. Griffey is particularly noted for his portrayal of the title role in Peter Grimes, which has won him international acclaim. He debuted the role at the Tanglewood Festival and School under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, and has since performed it all over the world, most recently in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera that was broadcast live in the company's Met: Live in HD series and subsequently released on DVD (EMI Classics). The Glyndebourne Festival also released a commercial recording of his performance with Mark Wigglesworth conducting.

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  • Susanna Phillips


    Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of the Metropolitan Opera's 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today's most sought-after singing actors and recitalists. In 2013-2014, Ms. Phillips returns to the Metropolitan Opera for a sixth consecutive season. Her roles with the company include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, under the baton of returning music director James Levine; Rosalinde in a new staging of Strauss's Die Fledermaus as part of the annual New Year's Eve gala; and Musetta in La bohème, a reprise of the role in which she made her house debut in 2008.

    Orchestral engagements this season include Fauré's Requiem with Charles Dutoit and the San Francisco Symphony and with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, where it shares the program with Villa-Lobos's Bachianas brasileiras No. 5; Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. In recital, Ms. Phillips is joined by bass-baritone Eric Owens at Chicago's Symphony Center for a program of Schubert lieder. Chamber music engagements include performances with Paul Neubauer and Anne-Marie McDermott in a trio concert tour that culminates at Boston's Gardner Museum.

    Last season, Ms. Phillips sang Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Met and returned to Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance as Stella in André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Reneé Fleming-a role she also performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other operatic highlights included her return to Santa Fe Opera as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, and a concert production of Idomeneo at the Ravinia Festival. Orchestral appearances included collaborations with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Alabama, and St. Louis, and with the Oratorio Society of New York. In addition, she made her solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.

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  • Alan Held


    American bass-baritone Alan Held's many engagements this season include Balstrode in Peter Grimes at Canadian Opera Company, the Mogul in The Dream of Valentino at the Minnesota Opera, Jochanaan in Salome and the title role in Der fliegende Holländer at the Bavarian State Opera, Jochanaan with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen with The Cleveland Orchestra. Recognized internationally as one of the leading singing actors today, he has appeared at the world's finest opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera; Lyric Opera of Chicago; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Opéra de Paris; Teatro alla Scala; and Vienna State Opera. His many roles include the title role in Wozzeck, Wotan in Wagner's Ring cycle, Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Orestes in Elektra, and Scarpia in Tosca.

    Mr. Held has performed with many of the world's finest orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, The MET Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Berliner Philharmoniker, and Kirov Opera Orchestra. His performance in the title role of the Opéra de Paris's production of Cardillac is available on DVD. He also appears as Don Pizzaro with Sir Simon Rattle in the Berliner Philharmoniker's recording of Fidelio (EMI Classics).

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  • Meredith Arwady


    Meredith Arwady's engagements in the 2013-2014 season include performances at San Francisco Opera as Mistress Quickly in Falstaff under Nicola Luisotti, a role which she also sings in a new production at Oper Frankfurt. She also returns to Houston Grand Opera as Erda in Das Rheingold, the company's first installment of its Ring cycle; to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Madame de Croissy in Dialogues des carmélites; and  to Santa Fe Opera for the double-bill The Impresario (Fräulein Krone) and Le rossignol (Death).

    In the 2012-2013 season, Ms. Arwady sang Erda in Der Ring des Nibelungen under the baton of Fabio Luisi at the Metropolitan Opera, and at Oper Frankfurt under Sebastian Weigle. She performed Dvořák's Biblical Songs and Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible in concert with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in Spain, and was seen at Arizona Opera as Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette. Other engagements included the role of Kathy Hagen in Terence Blanchard's new opera Champion for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, directed by James Robinson and conducted by George Manahan, and Auntie in Peter Grimes at the Aspen Music Festival.

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  • Patrick Carfizzi


    Bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi opened the 2012-2013 season making his role debut as Fra Melitone in La forza del destino at Oper Köln, and at Houston Grand Opera as Mustafà in the company's new production of L'italiana in Algeri. Other engagements included Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola at Seattle Opera, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro at Wichita Grand Opera, Maria Stuarda with Washington Concert Opera, Poulenc's Dialogues des carmélites at the Metropolitan Opera, and Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Central City Opera. Mr. Carfizzi is a graduate of the Yale School of Music and the winner of prestigious awards that include the Richard Tucker Career Grant, George London Award, Sullivan Foundation Award, Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, and Sergio Franchi Memorial Scholarship from the National Italian American Foundation.

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  • Nancy Maultsby


    American mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby is in demand with opera companies and orchestras worldwide. Her unique vocal timbre and insightful musicianship allow her to pursue a repertoire that extends from the operas of Monteverdi and Handel to recent works by John Adams. She regularly performs the major heroines of 19th-century French, Italian, and German opera, as well as the great symphonic works. Highlights of the 2013-2014 season include Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Florida Orchestra, and Verdi's Requiem with the Pacific Chorale and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

    A North Carolina native, Ms. Maultsby is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she studied with Lindsey Christiansen, and was a graduate student at Indiana University's School of Music, where she studied with Margaret Harshaw. She is an alumna of Lyric Opera of Chicago's Center for American Artists. Among numerous other awards, she is the winner of the Marian Anderson Award and the Martin E. Segal Award.

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  • David Pittsinger


    American bass-baritone David Pittsinger is renowned as a stage performer of the greatest distinction for his portrayals in the world's major opera houses. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Trulove in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, conducted by James Levine. His performances in Britten's Death in Venice and Handel's Orlando have also won him acclaim. His performance as Emile de Becque in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific at the Kennedy Center received a Helen Hayes Award nomination. Engagements in the 2012-2013 season included performances at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, the role of Roy Disney in the world premiere of Philip Glass's The Perfect American at Teatro Real, the Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des carmélites at the Metropolitan Opera, Stravinsky's Pulcinella and Haydn's Missa in tempore belli with Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the world premiere of Scott Eyerly's Arlington Sons-composed for Mr. Pittsinger and his son Richard, a boy soprano-with Leonard Slatkin and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

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  • Thomas Cooley


    Minnesota-born tenor Thomas Cooley is quickly establishing a reputation as a singer of great versatility, expressiveness, and virtuosity. Highlights of the 2012-2013 season included Bach's Mass in B Minor with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Robert Spano, Mendelssohn's Elijah with the Nashville Symphony and Nicholas McGegan, and Bach's Lutheran Mass with Les Violons du Roy. Engagements in recent seasons have also included Berlioz's Requiem at Carnegie Hall with Robert Spano; Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Donald Runnicles; Handel's Alexander's Feast at the Carmel Bach Festival; Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the Oregon Bach Festival with Helmuth Rilling, in addition to performances of the work with the Kansas City Symphony and Michael Stern, and also with Eiji Oue in Osaka, Japan; Haydn's The Creation with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Douglas Boyd, as well as with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Nicholas McGegan; and Berlioz's Les nuits d'été and L'enfance du Christ with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

    Mr. Cooley's recordings include Mathan in Handel's Athalia with Peter Neumann and the Kölner Kammerchor (MDG) and the premiere recording of Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus (Deutsche Grammophon), as well as Mozart's Requiem with the Windsbacher Knabenchor (Sony) and Mozart's Coronation Mass and Mass in C Minor with the Handel and Haydn Society and Harry Christophers (Coro Allegro).

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  • Liam Bonner


    Rising baritone Liam Bonner returns to Houston Grand Opera this season as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and to Los Angeles Opera in the title role of Britten's Billy Budd in a production directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by James Conlon. Also this season, he debuts at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus and returns to New Orleans Opera as Marcello in La bohème. Mr. Bonner recently sang the role of Lieutenant Audebert in the world premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night at Minnesota Opera, a role he reprised at the Opera Philadelphia in the 2012-2013 season. Additionally, he made his debut at the Wexford Festival Opera in Chabrier's Le roi malgré lui as Henri, a role he has also sung at Bard SummerScape with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra.

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  • Keith Boyer


    Since making his professional debut with Union Avenue Opera Theatre nearly 10 years ago as Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Keith Boyer has performed at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Touhill Performing Arts Center, and at Powell Hall in St. Louis, where he recently made his debut as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony in Schubert's Mass No. 6. Mr. Boyer began his training at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he received numerous awards that included the prestigious Buder Foundation Scholarship. There he gained valuable experience singing lead roles in Così fan tutte, Man of La Mancha, El Capitan, and The Pirates of Penzance.

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  • Leela Subramaniam


    A past and continuing Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine Young Artist, soprano Leela Subramaniam is a District winner of the Eastern Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, and a scholarship recipient at the Manhattan School of Music. Most recently, she performed Sœur Constance in Poulenc's Dialogues des carmélites at the Chautauqua Institution. Previous credits include Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with the Opera Repertory Ensemble at Manhattan School of Music, Offstage Soprano in Puccini's Il tabarro, Sadie (cover) in Terence Blanchard's premiere of Champion at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Nero in Handel's Agrippina at the University of California-Los Angeles, where she received her bachelor's degree.

    Ms. Subramaniam continues as an Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Gerdine Young Artist this summer, performing Giannetta in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore under the baton of Stephen Lord. A Los Angeles native, she is a professional studies candidate at the Manhattan School of Music, where she holds a master's degree and studies with Marlena Malas.

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  • Summer Hassan


    Soprano Summer Hassan is currently completing her master's degree at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) under the tutelage of Kenneth Shaw. She received her bachelor's degree from Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied with Marlene Rosen. Recent engagements include Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale and Anna Maurrant in Weill's Street Scene with CCM opera. She recently covered Vendulka in Smetana's The Kiss at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where she will return in summer 2014 to sing the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Other roles have included Mimì in La bohème, Mother in Hänsel und Gretel, and Betty in The Threepenny Opera with Janiec Opera Company at the Brevard Music Center; and Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito and Dorabella in Così fan tutte with Oberlin Opera Theater. She was a 2013 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions-North Carolina District and was a winner at the Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition at CCM.

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  • Amy Kaiser


    One of the country's leading choral directors, Amy Kaiser has conducted the St. Louis Symphony in Handel's Messiah, Schubert's Mass in E-flat Major, Vivaldi's Gloria, and sacred works by Haydn and Mozart, as well as Young People's Concerts. She has made appearances as a guest conductor for the Berkshire Choral Festival in Sheffield, Massachusetts; in Santa Fe; and at Canterbury Cathedral. As music director of the Dessoff Choirs in New York for 12 seasons, she conducted many performances of major works at Lincoln Center. Other conducting engagements include concerts at Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival and more than 50 performances with the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Principal conductor of the New York Chamber Symphony's School Concert Series for seven seasons, Ms. Kaiser also led many programs for the 92nd Street Y's acclaimed Schubertiade. She has conducted over 25 operas, including eight contemporary premieres.

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Pre-concert

Pre-concert talk starts at 6:00 PM in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage with Fred Plotkin, Author, Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera.

Audio

Britten's Peter Grimes ("Grimes ... Steady. There You Are. Nearly Home.")
London Symphony Orchestra | Sir Colin Davis, Conductor | London Symphony Chorus
LSO Live

Synopsis

 

The story takes place in the Borough (Aldeburgh) early in the 19th century.

Prologue: Interior of the town hall.
An inquest is underway to determine the cause of death of a boy apprenticed to the fisherman Peter Grimes. The mayor, Swallow, rules the death accidental, but warns Grimes not to hire another apprentice. The fisherman angrily rejects that injunction and complains that the verdict will not dispel the ill feelings the townspeople harbor toward him. Of those present, only Ellen Orford, a school teacher, displays any sympathy for Grimes.

Interlude I: "Dawn"

Act I, Scene 1: A street by the shore, a few days later.
The townsfolk are busy at their daily work. Grimes calls for help hauling his boat ashore, but only Balstrode, a retired seaman, and Ned Keene, an apothecary, come to his aid. Keene tells Grimes of a workhouse boy he could take on as a new apprentice. Hobson, the carter, refuses to fetch the lad, but Ellen volunteers to bring him. After she departs, a storm arises. The townsfolk seek shelter, leaving Grimes and Balstrode alone. Balstrode advises the fisherman to leave town and go to sea, but Grimes declares that he is rooted to the place. He also confesses his dream of a prosperous life and marrying Ellen.

Interlude II: "Storm"

Act 1, Scene 2:  That evening, inside the Boar, a tavern.
As the townsfolk take shelter from the storm, Grimes arrives, soaked and wild in appearance. He likens the storm to the turmoil of human affairs, provoking derision and hostility. Auntie, the tavern's mistress, tries to relieve the tension by instigating a song. Just then, Ellen and the new apprentice arrive, drenched and exhausted. Dispensing with any pleasantries, Grimes hustles the boy out and repairs toward his hut.

Interlude III: "Sunday Morning"

Act II, Scene 1: The street again, on a fine Sunday morning several weeks later.
Ellen and the new apprentice sit in the sun by the shore while a service is conducted in the parish church. Noticing the boy's torn clothes and bruised neck, she confronts Grimes when he comes for his apprentice. Ellen and Grimes quarrel, and he strikes her. The townsfolk gather and voice their anger at Grimes until the Rector and Mayor Swallow lead the men toward the fisherman's home.

Interlude IV: "Passacaglia"

Act II, Scene 2: Inside Grimes's hut.
Grimes, eager to reach a large shoal of fish, roughly orders his apprentice about. When his behavior frightens the boy, Grimes tries to calm him by telling how well they will live if they make a good haul and he marries Ellen. In spite of himself, he knocks the boy over, then comforts him again, his demeanor swinging wildly between roughness and tenderness. Grimes hears the townsmen approaching. Anxious to be off, he pushes his apprentice out the door, and the boy slips and falls off the cliff to his death. Grimes scrambles down after him. The townsmen arrive and are surprised to find the hut empty. All depart except Balstrode, who looks about and then heads for the path that leads down the cliff.

Interlude V: "Moonlight"

Act III, Scene 1: The street again, several days later.
The townsfolk are gathered for a dance. Ellen tells Balstrode that Grimes's boat has returned, but that the jacket his apprentice was wearing has washed up on the beach. This news is overheard and passed on to Mayor Swallow, who orders a party to find Grimes.

Interlude VI

Act III, Scene 2:
 A few hours later. 
In the fog that has set in, the townsmen search for Grimes. Ellen and Balstrode intercept the fisherman as he attempts to return home. He is exhausted and mad with grief and desperation. Balstrode tells Grimes the only way out of his predicament: to take his boat back out to sea and scuttle it. Dawn breaks, and the townsfolk resume their routines. Swallow relates that a boat was seen on the horizon, apparently sinking. His report is dismissed as rumor, and the people return to their business.
Program Notes
Britten 100

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